We Are Agriculture is a year-long series that will highlight the hard-work done by employees across the Department of Agriculture. Ellerslie McCue, Marketing Coordinator at the WNC Farmers Market, is one of those employees. Stay tuned each Wednesday here on the blog or any of our social media accounts and join us in honoring those who continue to drive our state’s agriculture industry forward each day!
Named after her family farm in South Carolina, Ellerslie McCue the Marketing Coordinator at the WNC Farmers Market, has been surrounded by agriculture since she was a small child. “I grew up with a love for this industry and always knew that I wanted to pursue a career within it,” she said, “but I didn’t know where my place was in the industry until I went to Clemson and fell in love with the storytelling and marketing side of agriculture that lets me combine my passions for agriculture and creativity.”
After graduating from Clemson University in 2020, Ellerslie began working at Revis Farm in Flat Rock, N.C., a produce farm and apple orchard. There she helped with the daily running’s of the farm, managed a produce box program, oversaw food safety, and did the farms marketing.
While working for the farm, Ellerslie saw a need for ag marketing and website design in the community and began doing freelance ag marketing for farms and commodity groups in Western North Carolina.
In July of 2021, during a commodity meeting, she met Michelle Roberts, Horticulture Marketing Specialist with our Marketing Division for apples and tomatoes. “I had given a website presentation at an association meeting and met Michelle on Thursday. On Monday, she called to tell me about the job opportunity at the WNC Farmers Market,” Ellerslie said. “It was a great opportunity to work with a variety of farmers across Western North Carolina and promote agriculture, so I took it!”
As Marketing Coordinator of the WNC Farmers Market, Ellerslie is responsible for a variety of weekly tasks, including maintaining the markets social media accounts, planning seasonal festivals, creating graphic designs for digital and print marketing efforts, copywriting, completing marketing contracts, editing future articles and more. “My primary job is to support and promote farmers and vendors here at the market through marketing efforts that drive revenue for our farmers,” she explains.
In an age of increased digital marketing, social media has become a primary tool of communication. Not only is it an efficient tool for promotion of products and farm updates, but it is also a great way to build a loyal customer base. “I believe stories sell and social media gives us a platform to educate the public about what we do and why we do it,” Ellerslie said.
Vendors at the WNC Farmers Market come and go on a seasonal basis. The majority of them have been very receptive to an increased social media presence and look forward to seeing Ellerslie around the marketing, talking with her and sharing their story. “We rotate vendors on a seasonal basis, showcasing plants, produce, pumpkins & squash in the fall and N.C. Christmas trees in the winter,” she said. “I love working with a diverse group of farmers, getting to know them personally, and figuring out how best to market their crops.” The market offers daily and long-term rentals for farmers where they can come out and sell their crops to retail and wholesale customers. “We are here to support farmers and we play an active role in that by providing different options for them to come and sell their products throughout the year,” Ellerslie said.
Although she loves many aspects of her job, including networking with farmers, her favorite part is being in a position that amplifies the voice of farmers in Western N.C. “I love being a voice for our farmers and making their needs heard while being able to share their stories and hard work with our community that may not have a direct impact or connection with farmers or agriculture in general,” she said. “It’s really neat to work with farmers and agriculture industry producers from the N.C. Department of Agriculture side now and connect them with all the great opportunities the department offers.
In recent years, social media has become a new and highly desired career field for many college graduates. As a social media professional, Ellerslie recommends staying up to date and learning all that you can about the current state of social media platforms if it is a career you are dreaming of. “Social media is constantly changing,” she said. “It’s even vastly different from managing your own personal social media accounts. So, monitor the changes, learn all that you can and invest time and energy into learning how to utilize each platform to its full potential.”
When she is not working at the WNC Farmers Market, Ellerslie can be found spending time with her black German Shepard, Cash, or testing out a new, local recipe in the kitchen. Join us in thanking Ellerslie for all of her hard work promoting farmers in the western part of our state and helping us learn about the variety of products that they offer!